A friend had just dropped LaVera Stauss off at her Kiel home after an early supper.
Just as she entered her home, she knew something was wrong with her. She collapsed on the floor.
LaVera said she knew she had had a stroke.
With nobody home to help her, she laid on the floor for hours but then was able to get up at around 11 p. m. She said she felt OK and went to bed, sleeping through the night.
When she got up the next day, however, LaVera said she knew she had to do something about the previous evening’s episode. “I knew there was something wrong and I had to get help,” she said.
A friend stopped by that morning and could also tell that LaVera had likely had a stroke. That set the wheels of help in motion, and eventually found LaVera rehabilitating at Homestead Care Center in New Holstein.
LaVera was familiar with the Homestead as she had visited other people there in the past, but this time she was a resident receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy with a goal of trying to return home. “I try to do a good job if I can,” she said of the exercises the therapists at Homestead Care Center have her do.
Chances are good LaVera will meet her goal of returning home, thanks in large part to the therapists of Reliant Rehabilitation which is Homestead Care Center’s in-house therapy department. So far this year, 80 percent of the people receiving therapy services have been discharged to the highest practical level—many of those going back to their homes.
“The most important thing to us is the goals of the patient,” said Dana Reamy, regional director of operations for Reliant Rehabilitation. A physical therapist by trade, Reamy oversees all nine facilities Reliant serves in Wisconsin.
Along with Daisy Sutrick, director of rehabilitation, and the rest of Reliant’s staff at Homestead, Reamy is helping to implement Model 10, a clinical model of care developed by Reliant Rehabilitation and one which the company calls a “revolutionary rehabilitation technique.”
Reliant Rehabilitation’s corporate team collected and analyzed information required to advance the impact of therapy services and treatment programs. All Reliant therapists receive comprehensive training which enhances their clinical decision making skills.
Model 10 is already paying significant dividends for patients helped by Reliant Rehabilitation. Among the benefits being seen is a 75 percent decrease in restraint use after one month; 35 percent decrease in falls after one month; 95 percent decrease in moderate to severe pain; 35 percent decrease in incontinence after one month; decreased discharges to hospitals by 22 percent after one month; 85 percent return to prior level of function; and a 74 percent increase in cognitive treatments.
“As the health care industry has changed, the role of therapy has evolved to meet these challenges,” a Reliant Rehabilitation flyer about Model 10 says. “The treatment strategies selected must be designed to meet the needs of patients in an efficient and cost effective manner with a variety of clinical settings.”
to the development of Model 10 as they work in unison with therapists to help patients reassimilate, reintegrate and rehabilitate. Part of the Model 10 difference is providing outcome summaries shared with both the patients and their physicians.
Before that occurs, however, assessments are done on all new patients. Reamy said they focus on the “big picture areas” of a person—how are they walking and talking? What are their expectations? A one to 10 rating system is used to grade the patients’ abilities in a variety of categories, and those ratings are updated and adjusted as patients make progress through the rehabilitation process. In that way physicians, patients and their families can better measure the outcomes of rehabilitation.
Homestead Care Center has a dedicated area for its therapy services, complete with separate entrances from the rest of the nursing facility. Outpatient therapy services are available for the community, as are Rehabilitation Suites with private bathrooms for patients needing short-term stays for therapy services. Private rooms with private bathrooms are available, along with lower daily rates on Residential Care Suites for those needing long-term care, as well as Medically Complex Suites for residents who have sub-acute skilled nursing needs.
Heather Hintz, administrator of Homestead Care Center, said the relationship with Reliant Rehabilitation has been excellent. “It’s going very well,” she said. “They’re great therapists. They’re here all the time providing in-house and outpatient therapy services, and the residents love to work with them.”
Sutrick said Homestead Care Center offers a Comprehensive Orthopedic Program, primarily for patients recovering from hip or knee replacements but also for broken legs, fractured ankles, shoulder injuries, etc. Homestead’s therapy team is also skilled in treating patients who have suffered from strokes, patients who have cardiac complications, and patients with a wide variety of other diagnoses. Therapists will do prompt evaluations within 24 hours of admission, implement protocols from the patient’s surgeon and/or physician, create an individualized plan of care for each patient, provide therapy services twice a day for each patient, and educate the patient to improve independence and quality of life.
Surgical techniques have improved regarding knee and hip replacements. Replacements are lasting longer, and are being done on both older and younger patients than in the past. Reamy said the improved procedures really have not changed rehabilitation methods. “The rehab is aggressive, and probably more aggressive than in the past,” she said, but added they are seeing the typical patient get better faster—even returning to playing tennis.
LaVera probably won’t be playing tennis anytime soon, but she does plan to return to her home. When the time comes, therapists from Homestead Care Center will go with her to assess her home and make sure it is as safe as possible for her return.
In the meantime, LaVera said she feels comfortable at Homestead Care Center. “I think it’s a good place,” she said. But she is still looking forward to going back to making her own meals because she said she is getting a little too much at the Homestead.
Mark Sherry photo